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Dry farming not for the Lodi area

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Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 10:00 pm

The growing practice of dry farming vineyards isn't too common in California, and it's even less common in Lodi. According to area growers, only a few vineyards use dry farming, and that's mainly due to area the vineyards are located in.

When it comes to growing grapes, most Lodi-area growers use drip irrigation as a means of water conservation. Dry farming usually means that the vines are extremely deep-rooted, meaning less watering is needed.

"We live in a place that you need to irrigate your vineyards to keep them healthy," said Stuart Spencer, program manager of the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission.

Spencer said that due to the dry climate during the main growing season, between May and September, irrigation is necessary.

Kevin Phillips, the vice-president of operations for Phillips Farms and Michael-David Vineyards said dry farming is quite rare for the Lodi area.

"A lot of those places in the islands, west of I-5, those would be dry farmed. They're not irrigated because of a high water table," Phillips said. "It would be pretty hard to start a vineyard with dry farming."

The more water a fruit has, the less flavor it has, Phillips said. When there is less water, as in dry farming, the flavor is more intense. However, fruit yields are typically smaller with dry farming.

"From a farming standpoint, it's not very cost effective. Your yields are going to be so low that you really really have to be justified in using dry farming," Phillips said.

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  • posted at 9:07 am on Sat, May 17, 2008.


    Farmers sure have allot of excuses....

  • posted at 5:02 pm on Wed, May 14, 2008.


    Ha ha. At least it's better than it used to be.

  • posted at 6:39 am on Wed, May 14, 2008.


    If you dry farm in Lodi you wont be able to plump up the grapes and get your ton/acre ratio up high enough to make the cheap valley wines that everybody here knows and loathes...loves.



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